Commission Music

Commission Music
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Sunday, 4 May 2003

Don't Worry, It's Art.

So we showed up early in the castro and assembled our water jug and bowling ball wind chime and T & L were untangling their climbing gear in preperation for scaling the traffic light, when it started to rain heavily. So we started assembling another wind chime instead. It has some pipes, bike parts, a mailbox, a christmas tree stand, an empty gas can, a piece of shelving. lots of metal. It was really pouring, so we crossed through the undercrossing, to hang it from the railing of the Muni station at Harvey Milk Plaza. We had hoisted it down and were about to clip it into place when the station agent appeared with a cop who told us "no."

We must have been called in as a homeland security threat, because there were suddenly about ten cop cars cruising the castro (where no cops had been earlier) and a news van kept driving around looking at the Muni station also. All the cops slowed down to look at us as we packed it back in. So we went to brunch. It was still early. We decided to abandon the lightpole idea, as it would have the cops back out again in a second. So we decided to wait until other musicians arrived and set up then, to dilute attention and because we realized that we probably wouldn't be able to just leave the windchimes up all day. We could put them up during the Music Circus and take them down when the cops told us to again. Good plan.

So noon, the start time, came and went with no sign of anyone connected to the festival. Around 12:30, the tuba player from the BLO showed up and said his group was starting at 1:00. Some people from our mass email started to arrive, but still no other musicians. We decided that one other group was good enough and went to grab the water bottle and bowling ball chime, because it looks innocuos and was 100% ready to go. It was up within 5 minutes. Pictures were taken. Jesse, the tuba player and his friends played saint candles for a while and then packed it in. So we did too.

We hung one of our windchimes for about 1 - 1.5 hours with no incident and very little notice by anyone. We debated hanging the mailbox and gasoline can one again (was it the gasoline can that started the controversy with the muni station agent and the police?), but we were tired. None of the festival organizers appeared. No other musicians arrived. It was very strange.

I felt like our installation needed a label, so people would know what it was and then engage it somehow. But also felt like they needed to be reassured, so that ten cop cars and a news van wouldn't appear. So we need two signs. One will say "Windchimes" and have an arrow pointing at them. And the other will say, "Don't Worry. It's Art."

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